Woman With PCOS Embraces Her Thick Body Hair to Prove There Is No 'Normal'

leah jorgensen

Women are pretty much expected to not have any hair on their bodies except for on their heads. Most of us endure tediously shaving all our nooks and crannies and getting hardened wax ripped off one of the most sensitive parts of our bodies. Thankfully, more and more women are standing up for their body hair -- and Leah Jorgensen is one of them. 

  • Jorgensen, 33, has polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), which causes her hirsutism, aka female "male-pattern" hair growth.

    PCOS is a hormonal disorder in which a woman's hormones are imbalanced, which can lead to cysts, difficulties with infertility and periods, and other symptoms dependent on hormones, like acne and hair loss/growth. PCOS isn't fully understood, but it still affects one in 10 women of childbearing age. Of those women with PCOS, about 70 percent have hirsutism -- and yet, body hair still isn't considered to be normal by societal standards.

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  • Since she was a teen, Jorgensen was self-conscious of her body hair.

    When she was 14 years old, other kids noticed the hair on her face and bullied her by calling her a "man." So she wore long-sleeved shirts and long pants to cover herself up, even if it was during the summertime and hot outside.

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    "I had never seen women who looked like me," she said, according to the Sun. "I was so ashamed that I didn't want to talk about it. My way of coping with that shame and embarrassment was to hide."

    The shame also took a toll on her mental health, giving her anxiety and making her think she would live a "miserable life alone."

  • In 2015, Jorgensen was hit by a car when she was crossing the street; she was taken to the hospital in an ambulance.

    In order to save her, paramedics had to cut off her clothes for surgery and therapy. This also meant that people saw her body hair up close for the first time. 

    "I realized no one cared what I looked like, they just saw me as a person," she said. "It really helped me get over it."

    "I realized that I never really disliked how the hair looked," she continued. "The problem was not with the hair, it was with people's perception of it." 

  • Now Jorgensen fully embraces her body hair and wears whatever she wants, whenever she wants.

    ... Like last year when she wore a bikini to the beach for the first time ever.

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    She wants people to know that there's no amount of body hair that's "normal." Sometimes she shaves her face, and sometimes she totally ditches the razor.

    "Just because it's often not seen or talked about because people are hiding in shame doesn't mean that it is abnormal. I am tired of this being kept in the dark," she wrote on Instagram. "I want it to be seen and I want this to be talked about."

  • Her message has resonated with many other women who have hirsutism and are tired of hiding it too.

    "As a PCOS sufferer I want to thank you and applaud your bravery in such a image-conscious environment," another person wrote on Instagram. "You're my new hero."

    Keep doing what you're doing, Jorgensen!

body image body positivity